Lot 635: Lot 635: Tang Dynasty Chinese bronze coin - Kai Yuan Tong Bao, double crescent, 621 AD

Est: $100 - $400
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Eternity Gallery

May 10, 2018, 11:00 AM EST
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Description: Lot 635: Tang Dynasty Chinese bronze coin - Kai Yuan Tong Bao, double crescent, 621 AD Description: Obverse: Kai Yuan Tong Bao; Reverse: Double Crescent Mint Marks on the top and bottom; Size: 22 mm; Weight: 3.21 grams; Hartill: p. 106 ac, nail marks above and below the square hole; Grade: Fine/VG; Kai Yuan Tong Bao (The Inaugural Currency). This was the main coin issued by the Tang. It was cast for most of the dynasty, a period of nearly 300 years. It was first issued by the Emperor Gao Zu in the autumn of the 4th year of the Wu De period (August 621). Its diameter was to be 8 fen. The weight was set at 2.4 zhu, ten to the liang. 1,000 coins weighed 6 jin 4 liang. The legend was written by the famous calligrapher Ouyang Xun in a much admired mixture of the Bafen and Li (official or clerkly) styles of writing. This is the first to include the phrase tong bao, used on many subsequent coins. The inscription was used by other regimes in later periods; such coins can be distinguished from Tang coins by their workmanship. Minting and copper extraction were centrally controlled, and private casting was punishable by death. For the first time we find regulations giving the prescribed coinage alloy 83% copper, 15% lead, and 2% tin. Previously the percentages used seem to have been on an ad hoc basis. Actual analysis show rather less copper than this.
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